GILES SMITH: DAY IN QUESTION
'Tell me why I don't like Wednesdays' columnist Giles Smith found himself humming as he left the stadium last night. He seeks the answer here…
Is it me, or is there a pattern developing?
What seems to be happening is that every Wednesday we invite over to our place a team that, in the ordinary run of things, and given a fair wind, we would be expected to beat. Even thrash. Not every time, maybe. But like, say, 999 times out of a 1000.
'Why don't you come over on Wednesday night,' we say, 'and we'll have three points off you, or, as the case may be, a place in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley. And then maybe we'll go out for a drink afterwards, although probably not because it's work the next day.'
And then what happens? The expected result doesn't occur, the odds are rendered strangely meaningless, and we end up losing 0-1 to QPR, for instance, or 0-2 to Swansea, or attaining a two-goal lead against Southampton by half time but then somehow surrendering it and dropping two points that would have put us nicely out of reach of Tottenham in third place in the Premier League.
And instead of Wednesday night being the occasion for the simple but life-enhancing pleasures which we had anticipated, and which all the relevant pointers had been indicating, we're left walking back to the car in a state of bewilderment.
This has happened every Wednesday night so far in 2013. So far on Wednesdays this year we have taken two points out of a possible six and left ourselves, if not a mountain, then at least a pretty stiff hill to climb in the second leg of a League Cup semi-final. I'm starting to go off Wednesdays.
And in fact, it's not just 2013. If it wasn't for Wednesday nights at our place, we'd still be in the Champions League (the ultimately fatal 2-2 draw against Juventus was on a Wednesday) and Fulham would have one fewer point than they currently do (we contrived, incredibly, to draw 0-0 with our friendly neighbours on November 28th 2012 - a Wednesday).
Add to our current total the points we have dropped at home on Wednesday nights alone and we would currently be sitting in second place in the Premier League, above Manchester City, and be eagerly hunting the title, just five points behind a clearly very iffy and jittery Manchester United (whose luck surely has to run out eventually, but probably won't because that's very much the history of the club).
You weigh all this evidence up and it becomes no exaggeration to say that Wednesday night has pretty much wrecked our season. Along with a few other factors.
And just to make this personal for a moment: can I point out that every time something confusing and ultimately disappointing happens at Stamford Bridge on a Wednesday night (in other words, every Wednesday night), I have to come home afterwards, open my laptop and try and find something cheerful to write about it for this website?
Yes - even after we have just gone out of the Champions League. Which happened on a Wednesday night. Of course.
Is it any wonder that I don't like Wednesday nights? What have I ever done to Wednesday night that Wednesday night should hold such a grudge against me? What have any of us ever done?
Or is it something about Wednesdays in themselves? Is there something intrinsically wrong with the day? Does this point in the week have a history of being the harbour for really annoying, fantastically irritating and, in many ways, quite unacceptable outcomes? Is it the kind of day when conceding a two-goal lead to a patently inadequate Southampton side is somehow more likely?
I did a bit of internet research on this, and it turns out that the curse of Wednesday is a relatively new thing. At any rate, history doesn't seem to show any particularly visible Wednesday-related bias in terms of regrettable or otherwise significant things that have happened on that day down the ages.
Apparently Cyclone Wendy destroyed the city of Darwin in Australia on a Wednesday in 1974. But Darwin wasn't expected to take all three points off Cyclone Wendy, so I don't suppose anybody there would have had many complaints.
Neither did Darwin go in 2-0 up at half-time with really good goals from Demba Ba and Eden Hazard.
It also turns out that the Thriller in Manila, the third of the classic Ali-Frazier World Heavyweight title boxing encounters, happened on a Wednesday night. So, I suppose, as far as Muhammad Ali was concerned, Wednesday nights were just fine. Less so, of course, for Joe Frazier.
And less so for us, who now consider Wednesday about as welcome in the week as a portion of horse meat in a burger.
Good news, though. As long as we can avoid FA Cup replays, we aren't scheduled to play at home on a Wednesday night again in 2012/13. Not once. (This is where going out of the Champions League and into the Europa League really begins to work to our advantage.)
It's been puzzling and rotten, then - but the rot stops here. The weekly Wednesday night nightmare is over and we can move on to other, better days that don't hate us so much.
Sundays, for instance. Sundays don't appear to have it in for us anywhere near as much as Wednesdays. Even at home.